Making Sense of Failure to Support Experimental Innovation: A Case Study of a Financial Services Information System

Marta Gasparin*, William Green, Christophe Schinckus

*Corresponding author for this work

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Organisational experiments have been neglected in the innovation literature. In this paper, we analyse an Information Systems development project, which was constructed as an experiment as a reaction to the failure of an earlier attempt. The failed project was the same information system but based on conventional innovation or organisational approaches. We use fluid projects theory, through sensemaking and sensegiving, in analysing historical documents to demonstrate that making sense of failure can lead to subsequent success, and in this case experimenting was integral. We conclude that failure can be re-imagined as a catalyst for learning, which leads to success. The approach illustrated for this is experimental, and understood through a sensemaking process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Experimental project
  • IT system
  • Sensemaking

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